Ideas to Action:

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2009 Commitment to Development Award Presented to Diego Hidalgo as Blizzard Begins

February 5, 2010

Diego Hidalgo delivers his acceptance speech after receiving the 2009 Commitment to Development Award.CGD president Nancy Birdsall and Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Moisés Naím presented the 2009 Commitment to Development "Ideas in Action" Award to Diego Hidalgo Schnur before a resilient crowd on Friday as a massive snow storm closed in on Washington, D.C.

The award, bestowed annually since 2003, honors an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to changing attitudes and policies toward the developing world. Reflecting CGD's and Foreign Policy's missions, it is designed to highlight the ever-increasing ways in which the actions of individuals, governments, and institutions transcend borders and shape our world.

As snow piled up outside, Birdsall introduced Hidalgo, whom she called "a serial creator of new institutions," and briefly highlighted some of his endeavors as a philanthropist, social entrepreneur, author, and businessman.

"Not enough people in the world truly know how better policy can make a difference," said Birdsall. "Diego Hidalgo's illustrious career demonstrates his remarkable commitment to evidence-based policy work across a wide range of development topics, from humanitarian relief to foreign policy."

"Diego Hidalgo is a generous visionary who became a social entrepreneur decades before the concept was broadly embraced," added Naím.

2009 Commitment to Development Award recipient Diego Hidalgo with CGD president Nancy Birdsall and Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Moisés NaímHidalgo is the founder or key sponsor of numerous organizations committed to promoting development and democracy—not only in Spain and Europe, but across the globe. These include Development Assistance Research Associates (DARA), which produces the Humanitarian Response Index; the Foundation for Research and Investment for the Development of Africa (FRIDA), an NGO that promotes cooperation and development projects in the continent's poorest countries; and the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax), a Spanish think tank. He also serves as president of the Fundación par alas Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), a Madrid-based think tank that provides innovative ideas on Europe's role in the international arena.

In his acceptance speech, Hidalgo reflected on his diverse career and offered a "Decalogue" of advice to young entrepreneurs striving to improve the world. "Younger generations show much more solidarity, interest in the least privileged, and generosity with their time and money than was the case decades ago," stated Hidalgo.

He also expressed appreciation for the recognition.

"I feel particularly happy because this award highlights and strengthens the institutions and projects whose founding and growth I have supported during my life and particularly through the last decade, working on what I called the three interrelated Ds: Democracy, Dialogue and Development," said Hidalgo. "These Ds correspond to basic values of freedom, security, human rights, and relate to areas like global governance, climate change, and a more equitable globalization."

The audience included many of Hidalgo's family and friends, as well as Spanish Ambassador to the U.S. Jorge Dezcállar.

Birdsall and Naím chair the Commitment to Development Award selection committee which also includes Evelyn Herfkens, executive coordinator of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Campaign; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, managing director at the World Bank and former minister of finance and foreign affairs in Nigeria; Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post columnist and director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Kevin Watkins, director of UNESCO's Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

Previous winners of the Commitment to Development Award include the European ministers of international development who constitute the Utstein Group (2003); Oxfam's Make Trade Fair Campaign (2004); then–Chancellor of the Exchequer and now Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown (2005), then–U.S. Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) (2006), Global Witness (2007), and the ONE Campaign (2008).

For more information on the Commitment to Development Award, see

Written by Kaci Farrell